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Pancreatitis in Dogs

Joseph Bisignano DVM

Joseph Bisignano, DVM, serves as an internal medicine specialist at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital in California. There, Joseph Bisignano, DVM, welcomes patients with a variety of medical conditions, including pancreatitis.

All dogs have digestive upset from time to time. Frequently, this stems from eating something disagreeable or an infection from a virus or bacteria. Sometimes, however, symptoms such as vomiting, belly pain, and a loss of appetite stem from an inflamed pancreas.
The pancreas is an organ close to the stomach that regulates blood sugar and aids in digestion. When it becomes inflamed, the inflammation interrupts the process of sending enzymes into the digestive tract. This causes those same enzymes to leak into the abdominal cavity, where the enzymes begin to break down not food but the dog's organs.
In addition to digestive troubles, this process can cause fatigue, difficulty breathing, fever, and an increased heart rate. Treating the symptoms typically means addressing the cause of the underlying inflammation. Among others, these causes can include an overly fatty diet or particular medications. A veterinarian will likely also prescribe fluid therapy, electrolyte and potassium supplements, and therapies that improve blood flow.
A dog with pancreatitis will usually need to be on a low-fat diet throughout his or her recovery and possibly beyond. Additionally, the owner should keep the dog's weight at a manageable level and avoid drugs that can cause inflammation.

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